Visa's V.me digital wallet exits beta, mobile apps due in early 2013
Visa announced its V.me digital wallet has exited beta, touting support from more than 50 financial institutions as well as close to two dozen merchant partners.
V.me enables consumers to make real-world and online purchases via smartphone, tablet or PC--instead of entering their account number, billing data and shipping information for each transaction, shoppers simply input their username and password. In addition to Visa cards, V.me also supports cardholder accounts from rivals MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Consumers can visit www.V.me to enroll and begin shopping at online retailers including 1-800-Flowers.com, Shoebuy.com, Cooking.com, Rakuten.com, Buy.com and Blue Nile. Bank partners include BBVA Compass, PNC, TCF Bank and U.S. Bank.
"In early 2013--not necessarily in the U.S.--you'll see physical implementations of V.me," Visa's Global Head of eCommerce Jennifer Schulz told TechCrunch. In conjunction with those point-of-sale deployments, Visa also plans to roll out cross-platform mobile applications early next year. Although previous V.me trials have focused on Near Field Communications-enabled contactless payments, Schulz said that the platform supports QR codes and other digital commerce technologies, adding that Visa is mulling expanded services like mobile shopping combined with in-store pickup.
V.me will compete against a growing number of rival mobile payment options including Square, PayPal, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Wallet and Isis, spearheaded by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA. "Right now we're in the proliferation stage," Schulz said. "Over time, you will see a consolidation. And where will that consolidation end up? It will end up with trusted brands. It will end up with consumer-centric value propositions… and it will be about acceptance and scale."
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